Original Research

Predictive performance models in the South African Business Process Services industry

Chris T.G. Jacobs, Gerhard Roodt
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 45 | a1493 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v45i0.1493 | © 2019 Chris T.G. Jacobs, Gerhard (Gert) Roodt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 October 2017 | Published: 20 February 2019

About the author(s)

Chris T.G. Jacobs, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Gerhard Roodt, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


Orientation: An earlier systematic literature review study (Jacobs & Roodt, 2011) conducted on research in Business Process Services (BPS) industry sector companies identified a number of variables that could be empirically linked to turnover intention and individual performance. The literature pointed to a potential health promotion process, as well as an individual performance process in the BPS environment.

Research purpose: The purpose of this study is to test two different predictive models that may explain two distal outcomes, namely turnover intention and individual employee performance, in the South African (SA) BPS industry.

Motivation for the study: There is little, if any, peer-reviewed, empirical research available on the BPS industry that links variables to either proximate or distal outcome variables, such as turnover intention and individual employee performance.

Research approach/design and method: A two-stage, census-based sampling approach was followed that initially targeted 40 organisations within the industry that employ about 13000 employees. Sixteen of these organisations (employing about 6800 individuals) indicated that they wish to voluntarily participate in the study; 821 individuals were targeted to participate in the cross-sectional survey and 487 usable responses were obtained (a 59% response rate). Multivariate data analyses were conducted from an exploratory perspective to retrospectively explain relationships in the structural models.

Main findings: An overall health promotion process model that predicted the distal outcome, turnover intention, was confirmed within the context of this exploratory study, where human resource management (HRM) practices, job demands (JDs) and job resources (JRs) were related to burnout as the only proximate outcome. On the other hand, an individual performance enhancing process model was also confirmed within the context of this exploratory study by using HRM practices, JRs and JDs, together with proximate variables, such as employee competence and engagement, to explain the distal outcome, individual performance.

Practical/managerial implications: The study has implications for executive (strategic) management, human resource (HR) professionals and work unit team leaders in the BPS industry. This study shows which JRs contribute towards the reduction of burnout and turnover intention in the BPS context. On the other hand, it explains how HRM practices, as well as JRs and JDs, in combination with employee competence and engagement, can be used to promote individual performance.

Contribution/value-add: This is the first SA study that uses a range of variables in a multivariate analysis to predict turnover intention and individual performance in the SA BPS industry.


business process services; performance models


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